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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Skin I Live In aka La piel que habito [Blu-ray]

 

(Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Canal+ España

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:00:17.210

Disc Size: 46,258,373,488 bytes

Feature Size: 31,051,032,576 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.83 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 6th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 2143 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2143 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 3415 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3415 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, none

 

Extras:

The Making of The Skin I Live In (12:34 in 1080P)
An Evening with Pedro Almodóvar (1:14:33 in 1080P)
On the Red Carpet: New York Premiere (2:40 in 1080P)
The Skin I Live In Theatrical Trailer (2:08 in 1080P)
BD-Live capable
DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a driven plastic surgeon haunted by personal tragedies. After many years of trial and error, he finally perfects a new skin – a shield which could have prevented the death of his wife in an accident years earlier. His latest “guinea pig” is a mysterious captive whose true identity masks a shocking mystery. The Skin I Live In is a masterful tale of secrets, obsession and revenge from Oscar-winning (Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Talk to Her, 2002) writer/director Pedro Almodovar.

***

Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in... creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed three more things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig...

 

 

The Film:

With a Pedro Almodovar film, we expect voluptuous sexual perversion, devious plot twists, a snaky interweaving of past and present, all painted on a canvas of bright colors with bold art and clothing. His latest film, "The Skin I Live In," does not disappoint. Though I usually take pleasure in Almodovar's sexy darkness, this film induces queasiness.

What it provides is a glossy, smooth, luxurious version of the sorts of unspeakable things that occupied classified classic horror films involving mad scientists, body parts, twisted revenge, personal captives and hidden revenge. Usually such films are stylistically elevated enough that there's an irony involved, a camp humor.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 

A brilliant but deranged plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas) specialises in skin transplants. After his beautiful, mentally unstable daughter commits suicide, the surgeon vows revenge on the young man he holds responsible. The film boasts the most outrageous plot twist of any movie this year. It also contains the overboiled ingredients that lent such a strange taste to the Douglas Sirk melodramas of the 1950s that Almodóvar so admires: squabbling half-brothers, grief-stricken mothers, jealous fathers etc. What makes the film so unique is Almodóvar's approach toward his outlandish subject matter. It would be a mistake to describe his storytelling style as restrained. However, he directs in such deadpan fashion that you hardly notice how far-fetched the narrative really is. There is a fairy-tale element here too – a sense that in his own very perverse way, Almodóvar is revisiting the Beauty and the Beast myth. Banderas is the antithesis of the typical movie mad scientist: he's a soulful, introspective figure, more artist than monster. Elena Anaya is the woman he keeps locked away in his mansion in Toledo, moulding her so that she becomes more and more like his lost love. The film is ostensibly based on the novel Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet. However, Almodóvar, who usually writes his own screenplays, has utterly customised his source material. The result is one of his richest and strangest films.

Excerpt from The Independant located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Almodóvar makes beautiful films and The Skin That I Live In is no different. The Sony Blu-ray is quite crisp in close-ups - has a blue-bias and frequently exports impressive depth. It probably looked exactly like this theatrically.  This is a dual-layered rendering with a supportive bitrate and strong black levels. There isn't much texture but the visuals are not glossy. This Blu-ray has a consistent appearance that will supply a strong video presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The original Spanish is available via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3415 kbps. There is some violence and aggression that is exported well by the transfer. There is some pleasing subtly in the separation and depth is heard in Alberto Iglesias' wonderful original score. Dialogue is always clean and tight. There is a French DUB and optional English, English (SDH) and French subtitles. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Center-stage in the supplements is an hour-15-minute 'An Evening with Pedro Almodóvar' at the University of Southern California. It has a variety of interactions with the director discussing aspects of his career. We also get The Making of The Skin I Live In which is standard fare and runs for a dozen minutes with behind the camera scenes. The 'On the Red Carpet: New York Premiere' has input from the cast for a couple of minutes and lastly, we get a theatrical trailer. All extras are in 1080P.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Almodóvar makes the most interesting films. There are elements of ambiguity, perversion and personal bents that are presented in a antiseptic, less-voyeuristic, avenue. They are, all at once, intriguing, amusing and surprising. His signature-style is all over The Skin I Live In. The Blu-ray is a fine 1080P video and lossless audio presentation. Probably not a film that I would recommend to my 85-year old Mother - but most everyone else should give this a spin! 

Gary Tooze

February 29th, 2012

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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